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Symbolism and the Dialectics of Retreat

Symbolism and the Dialectics of Retreat

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Symbolism and the Dialectics of Retreat

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  1. Symbolismand the Dialectics of Retreat

  2. Symbolism:Fin de Siècle Europe Symbolism was a flight from modernity, a Primitivist critique of European culture, a reaction against 19th century’s dominant faith in science and technology. The objective, optical “realism" of Impressionism is rejected for the representation of personal symbols, memory, imagination, and dreams to evoke a sympathetic understanding of the artist's “Idea” in the viewer as music does. "Art has gone through a long period of aberration caused by physics, chemistry, mechanics, and the study of nature....Artists, having lost all their savagery, went astray on every path." Paul Gauguin

  3. Symbolism and Decadence • Subjective vision • “Correspondances“ by Charles Baudelaire, 1857 • (a literal translation from the French) • Nature is a temple whose living columns • Sometimes allow confused words to escape; • Man passes through these forests of symbols, • Which regard him with familiar looks. • Charles Baudelaire's Theory of Correspondences in which objects become signs for the artist's personal ideas and feelings includes the idea of "Synesthesia" in which the five senses yield equivalent and concomitant responses, so that a line can be "noble" or "false“ (Gauguin), a shade of yellow, "sour" and clanging (Kandinsky).

  4. Paul Gauguin, Mallarmé (Nevermore),lithograph for publication in artists’ magazine, 1891

  5. Paul Gauguin, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?Oil on burlap, 139 × 375 cm, 1897–1898Symbolism and Primitivism

  6. (left) Paul Sérusier, Talisman, 1888, oil on cigar box lidNabis, Pont Aven “School” of Gauguin (“Studio of the North”)(right) Sérusier, Portrait of Paul Ranson Dressed as a Prophet (Nabi)1890, oil on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

  7. Maurice Denis (French Nabis and Symbolist painter, 1870–1943)Muses in the Sacred Wood, oil on canvas, 1893 Remember that a picture, before being a battle horse, a nude, an anecdote or whatnot, is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.” Maurice Denis,Definition of Neo-Traditionalism, 1890

  8. James Ensor (Belgian Symbolist, 1860-1949), Self Portrait with Masks, 1899 . . . and my suffering, scandalized, insolent, cruel, malicious masks. . . I have joyfully shut myself in the solitary milieu ruled by the mask with a face of violence and brilliance. James Ensor

  9. James Ensor, Entry of Christ into Brussels in 1889, 1888, 99 x 169,” oil on canvas, The GettyCompare Dostoyevsky's The Grand Inquisitor from The Brothers Karamazov

  10. James Ensor, detail of Entry of Christ into Brussels in 1889Compare with (right) Hieronymus Bosch (Netherlandish c. 1450-1516) Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1515-1516, oil on wood.

  11. James Ensor, The Intrigue, 1890, oil on canvasCompare: Francisco Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828), The Witches Sabbath (detail) 1820-23, fresco transferred to canvasHieronymus Bosch, Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1515-1516, oil on wood.

  12. Odilon Redon (French Symbolist painter and graphic artist (1840-1916), TheEye Balloon, charcoal, 1878 (right) Redon, The Smiling Spider, 1881, charcoal, 49.5 x 39 cm “The prince of mysterious dreams” (Huysmans)

  13. Odilon Redon, “Death, My Irony Exceeds All Others,” from To Gustave Flaubert, 1889, lithograph, 10 X 7”

  14. Franz von Stuck (German Symbolist, 1863 -1928) Sin, oil on canvas, 1893, 37 × 23 inFemme fatale

  15. Edvard Munch (Norwegian Symbolist-Expressionist 1863-1944)The Vampire, oil on canvas, 1893. Femme fatale

  16. Edvard Munch (Norwegian Symbolist-Expressionist 1863-1944)Self Portrait with Cigarette, 1895, oil on canvas,110.5 x 85.5 cm. Munch lived in Paris off and on between 1889-1892 Open link for a short slide show commentary on the major 2009 “Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, Myth” Chicago Art Institute exhibition

  17. Munch, Puberty, 1895, oil on canvas, 60 x 43”

  18. Edvard Munch, The Dance of Life, 1899-1900, oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 75,” National Gallery, Oslo, from the series, The Frieze of Life, which contained most of Munch’s major paintings

  19. Munch, The Lonely Ones, woodcut, 1894, and painting, 1935

  20. Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893, Casein/waxed crayon and tempera on paper (cardboard), 35 7/8 x 29,“ National Gallery, Oslo(Left) Munch, The Scream, 1893, woodcut “As he walked across a bridge with friends at sunset he was seized with despair and ‘felt a great, infinite scream pass through nature.’”

  21. Edvard Munch, Madonna, 1895-7, color lithograph, 24 x 17”Femme fatale

  22. Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist / Secessionist, 1862-1918) Death & Life, 1916 (Arnason seems to be in error)

  23. Gustav Klimt, Idyll, 1884, Oil on canvas, 49.5 x 73.5 cmVienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

  24. Klimt, Love, 1895, Oil on canvas, 60 x 44 cm, Vienna Art Historical Museum

  25. Klimt, Pallas Athene, 1898, Oil on canvas, 75 x 75 cm

  26. Joseph Maria Olbrich, (Austrian, 1867-1908)Vienna Secession building, 1898, Jugendstijl (Austrian Art Nouveau) Above the entrance: To every age its art and to art its freedom Gustav Klimt was a founder of the Vienna Secession

  27. Klimt, Beethoven Frieze: The Hostile Powers, 1902, Casein paint on stucco, 220 x 635 cm, Vienna Secession building, lower floor

  28. Klimt, Beethoven Frieze: Praise to Joy, the God-descended, 1902Casein paint on stucco, 220 x 470 cm

  29. Vienna Secession Building, Jugendstijl details of front. Designs attributed to Koloman Moser (Austrian Painter and Designer, 1868-1918)

  30. Koloman Moser, Bookcase, 1903, made by Caspar Hrazdil, Vienna, Thuya and Lemon Wood, Brass, and Glazed Glass, 57 x 39 x 16 in.(right) Moser, cover design for Ver Sacrum (Rite of Spring), international Jugenstijl magazine of Vienna Secession, published from January 1898 to October 1903

  31. Koloman Moser, Stained glass window for St. Leopold’s Church (Kirche Am Steinhof), 1905-7, the church of Vienna’s psychiatric hospital, Otto Wagner, architect.

  32. The Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop), an Arts & Crafts Movement, established in 1903, brought together architects, artists and designers committed to design (primarily jewelry, fabrics for clothing, ceramics and pottery, and furniture). (right) the Stoclet Palace, Brussels, Belgium, designed by Josef Hoffmann and built by the Weiner Werkstätte, 1905-11, This integration of architects, artists, and artisans makes it an example of Gesamtkunstwerk: the first aim of the Vienna Workshop. Wiener Werkstätte logo

  33. Auguste Rodin, Gates of Hell, 1880-1917, with detail (left)Symbolist

  34. Detail of Rodin’s Gates of Hell: Fugit AmorModernist aesthetics of fragmentation and theissue of “originality” (vs. the copy / reproduction) as a modernist myth

  35. Sculpture exhibition Paris World Fair 1900

  36. (left) Auguste Rodin (French Sculptor, 1840-1917) in studio with collection of antique sculptures: fragments with Balzac study (right) artist among his “fragments”

  37. Rodin, Detail of Gates of Hell with The Thinker and sources:Michelangelo and Durer Michelangelo, Last Judgment, 1535 Night, Michelangelo, 1520–34 Durer, Melancholia, 1515

  38. Constantin Brancusi (Romania, 1876-1957) (left)Vitellius, 1898(right) Brancusi in Paris studio, 1933The Saint of Montparnasse Brancusi was an admirer of 17th c. Tibetan monk and poet, Milarepa of the Himalayas

  39. (left) Brancusi, Sleep, 1908(right) Medardo Rosso (Italian 1858-1917) Ecce Puer, 1896“We are nothing but a play of light” (Rosso)

  40. Constantin Brancusi, Child Supplicant, bronze 1906, and Newborn, 1915 (right)

  41. Brancusi, Sleeping Muse, life-size, bronze, 1910

  42. Brancusi, The Origin of the World, 1924

  43. Matisse’s (modernist) quest for the essential (true) “sign” is shared by BrancusiConstantin Brancusi, clockwise from upper left: Supplicant Child, 1906, Sleeping Muse 1910; Newborn, 1915; and two versions of The Origin of the World, 1920s

  44. Constantin Brancusi, The Kiss, 1907 version (left) and the Memorial park at Tîrgu Jiu, Romania showing the TheGate of the Kiss, 1937 and part of contemplation group The Kiss, which symbolizes the marriage of the material and the spiritual, life and death, and in general the dialectical unification of the dualities of human experience

  45. Brancusi, Table of Silence, Memorial Park at Tirgu Jiu, Romania, 1937

  46. Brancusi, Endless Column, Memorial park at Tirjiu Jiucast iron with copper coating, 1937

  47. Brancusi, Endless Column, (left) under reconstruction, 1999(center) Segments of Endless Column(right) Donald Judd, Untitled, 1970

  48. Brancusi, Bird in Space, 1925, marble, stone, and wood Brancusi’s Paris studio 1927 – photographs by artist“All my life I have sought the essence of flight. Don’t look for mysteries. I give you pure joy. Look at the sculptures until you see them. Those closest to God have seen them”

  49. Brancusi studio, Pompidou Center, Paris